Bruce Deitrick Price
Why socialism is a bad deal
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By Bruce Deitrick Price
March 23, 2016

Thanks to Bernie and Hillary, Socialism is on everyone's mind. These politicians, like so many in our media and universities, claim it's a glorious idea.

Usually thought of as an economic philosophy, Socialism is more sweeping than that. It dictates how all of society must be organized. It claims to be fairer; it claims to deliver happiness. Socialism is a philosophy of life that, I'll argue, steals the life right out of you.

The central vision, indeed the central requirement, is that everyone be equal and cooperative. Competition is evil. Striving for success is scorned. In order to obtain the promised benefits, you agree to be a cog in the machine.

What do you give up in this transaction? A lot.

In Socialism, everything you have, and everything you are, is given to you by other people. That's the critical point. If you keep quiet and behave, authorities will pat you on the head, take care of your basic needs, and say you are a successful human being. You don't earn or build anything yourself.

But what about having personal goals and working toward them? Isn't that where most people achieve their greatest satisfaction in life?

The Greeks praised the pursuit of excellence, embodied in the word arete. An athlete, a painting, or a business can have arete. Humans are alive in order to pursue arete, that's the Greek idea.

There are many kinds of excellence. The Spartans had a harsh military code, Buddhists taught the Eight Fold Path Jews and Christians preached Biblical virtues, Boy Scouts have their code, Fortune 500 executives have other values. Point is, all religions and philosophies give you a challenging map to follow. You have values and goals that you work toward. Succeed or fail, pursuing a goal is often more fun than achieving it.

In Socialism, you give up every goal that used to be considered worthy and ennobling. That's the swindle. Socialist leaders enjoy this trade because they get to dominate everyone else. You get to be a peasant. You are supposed to settle for being a member of the herd. In return, you forgo the ambitions that traditionally motivated people: money, advancement, prestige, helping your family, a new car, etc.

After almost everyone has agreed to be a member of the herd, who is still striving and achieving in their lives? The bosses, the ruling elite, the people at the top, that's who. They get the satisfaction of working toward a goal, toward arete. They are players. You get to be a number.

John Dewey, America's most famous educator, preached Socialist ideals 100 years ago. He hated individualism (which is a major factor in America's success). He wanted children to be cooperative and interdependent, and he wanted to stamp out everything that got in the way of that, for example, academic achievement that set one child above another. There goes education as normally understood.

The public schools have been a workshop, a research lab, for Socialism since before World War I. Everything that Sanders and Clinton hope to do throughout the society, John Dewey did in the public schools. His schemes have been devastating for education. On the positive side, they allow us an inside look at this brave new ideology in action.

Let's zoom in on the central activity or moment in Socialist classrooms. The big shift, as you move into Socialism, is that you are not supposed to strive for or earn anything. John Dewey and all the other Socialists will tell you that such behavior is immoral.

Consider the individual cog. There you are, a bona fide member of the herd. Your name is John 6281 and you are pretty much identical to John 6282, John 6283, and so on. So, are you a success? Or a patsy? Effectively, you are a peasant who does not want to be anything else.

You may be as close to a husk of a human being as is possible to be. Which part of you is alive, other than your physical body?

Academics like to argue (disingenuously) about the distinctions between German Fascism and Russian Communism. They are identical in that nearly 100% of the people are ciphers forced to conform to endless rules and regs.

Inevitably, the social engineers that Hillary and Sanders are fronting for never know when to stop. Some historians say that totalitarian regimes killed 100 million people during the 20th century. Socialists and Communists always want more power for themselves. Your job is to do what you are told. For all practical purposes, you are a slave.

As for Socialism versus Communism, the difference is that Socialists try to convince you to surrender your freedom, whereas Communists forcefully seize your freedom. But you can end up at the same point.

Before you let Socialist dictators dictate your life, consider what you're giving up and what they're taking away.

© Bruce Deitrick Price

 

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Bruce Deitrick Price

Bruce Deitrick Price is the author of six books, an artist, a poet, and an education reformer. He was born in Norfolk, Virginia, earned Honors in English Literature from Princeton, served two years in the Army, and then lived many years in Manhattan.

Price explains educational theories and methods on his ed site Improve-Education.org (founded in 2005). He has 400 education articles and videos on the Internet. More forcefully than most, Price argues that the public schools are mediocre because our Education Establishment wants them that way.

Price's literary site is Lit4u.com .

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